Four days after the shooting in Aurora, I still can’t find anything unambiguously negative about the shooter James Holmes that dates earlier than this past year. More typical is a memory from a childhood friend:
I remember him being exceptionally intelligent. He excelled in academics. He always was in the top of the class … He was a pretty good athlete, too. But he wasn’t a loner back then — he played, he got along well with all the kids. He was a nice, quiet kid. You’d never think that something like this … But in thirteen years, a lot can happen.
We’ve all heard this same story before. Kazmierczak (2008), Cho (2007). Klebold (1999).
Shy scholarly boys who grew up to become mass murderers as young men.
To me, one obvious common thread among these people is that all were/are Enneagram “5”‘s.
But what about James Holmes? Was Holmes on an antidepressant? This is a Google Search link showing that lots of people are interested in that very question.
One of the most interesting threads of this current story is that, four days in, there is nary a peep in the media on this issue.
Seems hard to believe in this day of YouTube, Twitter, WikiLeaks, and Anonymous, that the answer to this question could be a kept a secret. But some people, somehow, are trying their very best to do just that.
But despite these efforts, I suspect that the Holmes case will blow the lid off of this mass murderer-antidepressant connection.
Look again at that list of murderers. As we go backward in time from Holmes to Kazmierczak to Cho to Klebold, there is greater and clearer evidence of psychological disturbance in the murderer long before the tragic day.
But now we come to Holmes. With him, unlike his predecessors in madness, there seems to be nothing unambiguously negative until recently.
With Holmes, it’s as if a highly promising life suddenly, within the past year, was met with an event so large that it completely reversed the course of this life (and, tragically, the lives of his victims).
What was that event?
I suspect that the event was that Holmes began taking antidepressants.
The Enneagram says that 5s, in times of feeling secure (i.e. “a feeling of well being”), “go to” 8 (the “bully” personality).
The Enneagram further says that the 5 personality type is the source of schizophrenia. That is, all true schizophrenics are 5s, under the theory.
So, take a boy, a 5 with paranoid schizotypal tendencies so mild that these tendencies are simply called “extreme shyness”, and put the boy on antidepressants. What do we get?
We get a young man, behaving like a “taking the law into his own hands” 8, feeling emotional connection with no one, and acting out on his paranoid fantasies.
But what if treating schizophrenics with antidepressants is common “sound” medical practice?
Then you’d better believe that there are lots and lots of people (Big Pharma who sell these drugs, the doctors who prescribe them, the families that push them on their kids, etc.) who want desperately to keep secret that Holmes was taking antidepressants.
I think the most telling fact in this sad tale is the mother’s first public statement when told of the event in Colorado: “You have the right person”.
Holmes’s mother is a nurse. I’m betting that she is the member of the family that got Holmes onto antidepressants. Probably around the time the kid couldn’t find employment between his masters and PhD programs.
And I’m further suspecting that the dad was against this antidepressants idea. I suspect this because the very first reports on that Friday morning four days ago said that the dad “was escorted by police out of the house”.
Such meager grains of sand on which to build a theory.
But Holmes is just the latest in a long, tragic line going back to the 1990s. And I think he’s the most interesting yet because he evidently underwent a complete personality transformation just before the tragedy.
The list of phenomena that can completely transform a personality within the span of one month are few. Antidepressants are #1 on that short list of such phenomena.